Pharmacies in the Valencian region are warning that approximately 600 commonly used drugs are no longer available through their outlets, an increase of more than 100 in the last three months.
As doctors tell of increased bureaucracy and more disorders they say that patients are returning to them time after time in the hope that their original medication has become available once more.
There are now about 600 medicines that are no longer available in pharmacies, a hundred more than just three months ago because the manufacturers remain in a price war with the health authorities.
Among the popular medicines affected is one that treats high blood pressure, Tevetens plus for which pharmacists warn that they will now have to find a replacement with a similar active ingredient because it is no longer provided by laboratories.
However, given that a large number of the population will have to deal with increased blood as they get older, the pharmacists that we spoke to say that it will eventually have to be replaced but with a much more expensive drug.
Also missing from pharmacy shelves are several injectables to treat cancer, such as Nivestim, which increases white blood cells, and Farmorubicin, which is associated with patients with breast, ovarian, bladder, pancreatic, lung or leukemic cancer.
Other drugs no longer available are required to treat hepatitis C, rhinitis, bacterial infections, heart diseases and chest angina.
A spokesmen from the Valencian Society of Family and Community Medicine, Aurelio Duque, says that the situation is unacceptable, and it is now beginning to seriously damage the integrated national health system whereby, using their SIP, patients should be able to receive their medicines anywhere in Spain.
“And it is not only a problem of shortages”, according to Duque. “Good and reliable old products are lost while new ones are often less effective, and in some cases more expensive. Nothing has been released that is any better than what we already had.”
The president of the College of Pharmacists of Alicante, Fe Ballesteros, says that there is not always a generic substitute for the missing product, and that there are still misgivings among some patients when the term “generic” is suggested.